Skip to main content

Full text of "Lassalle's open letter to the National Labor Association of Germany"

See other formats




• ' ‘ / 



Published and for Sale by 

The National Executive Committee 







In the month of October, 18G2, a Workingmen’s Conven¬ 
tion was held in the city of Nuremberg, Bavaria, for the pur¬ 
pose of considering means whereby the condition of the working 
people of Germany might be improved. The Convention adjourned 
without reaching any conclusion, but it was resolved to meet again in 
convention at Leipzig in the fall of 1863, and the Central Committee 
of the Workingmen’s Association in Leipzig was instructed to make 
preparations for the proposed convention. 

Accordingly this Committee visited Berlin and called upon promi¬ 
nent members of the Prussian Diet, especially those of the Liberal 
Party, asking them to frame a platform upon which the working 
people could unite for the advancement of their interests. 

Schultze Delitzsch, the well-known Liberal member, declined to sup 
port the demand for Universal Suffrage, as did also all Representa¬ 
tives of the Progressive” Party. Disgusted with these “statesmen ” 
and convinced that their help was not to be counted on, the Commit¬ 
tee met an old philanthropist, Dr. Jocrrisen, who told them that he 
knew of only one man intelligent and courageous enough to draw up 
a suitable platform, and that man was Ferdinand Lassalle, a private 
and almost unknown citizen in Berlin. The Committee called at 
Lassalle’s house, but as he was absent, the Committee left a letter 
stating the object of their visit. 

In reply, Lassalle published this open letter.] 




4 & »• 9 JL & n » am «» *H_ 3K< am s* sm 

- 00 - 

Gentlemen :—You request roe to give you my opinion 
of the workingmen’s movement, and of the means best calcu¬ 
lated to better the condition of the working classes, whether 
by political or moral action ; and also to give you my views on 
the importance of the labor organizations of that portion of 
the people wholly without means; a duty I hasten to dis¬ 

In the first place, I beg to state that, my time being taken 
up by necessary labor, my reply must be brief. 

In Berlin, October last, when the first consultation took 
place regarding the Workingmen’s Congress, two opposite 
views appeared, the discussion of which, through the news¬ 
papers, elicited much interest. 

One party insisted that you had no business to trouble 
yourselves about political movements, politics having no rec¬ 
ognition of you as a factor in the national programme, your 
inferiority as a class giving you no importance or interest in 
the debate. The other side insisted as strenuously that you 
should array yourselves as a wing of the Prussian Progressive 
Party—to act the part of the chorus in its active drama, or as 


— 6 — 

a species of sounding-board to give greater resonance to the 
voice of the organization. Had I been present with that delib¬ 
erative body, I should have spoken as equally opposed to 

A narrow view 7 indeed is it to look upon the movement as 
having no relation to politics. 1 have no hesitation in saying 
that through political action only can the working man hope 
for the fulfillment of* his aspirations as a citizen. The ques¬ 
tion how you shall assemble and discuss your interests, how 
form associations and branch societies, is a question already 
dependent upon the political situation and legislation, making 
it quite unnecessary,by further exposition, to answer objections. 

Not less mistaken and leading to error was the opposite 
view, placing you as a mere wing of the Progressive Party. 

True, it would have been unjust not to recognize that the 
Prussian Progressive Party had, at the time, a moderate claim 
to political freedom through the firmness it exhibited in voting 
the budget, and its opposition to the military re-organization 
jn Prussia. Granting the claims so founded, however, still the 
placing of you in so inferior a position would be inconsistent 
with your numerical importance and the gravity of the demands 
of the German Workingmen’s Party : which manfully struggles 
for higher political principles and more popular aims than the 
Prussian Progressive Party. Its chief distinction is, that 
it plants its flag on the Prussian Constitution, and the chief 
feature of whose struggles is opposition to a one-sided change 
of the military organization, and holding on to the right of 
voting the budget, features of policy in other German coun¬ 
tries not even questioned. 

There was, besides, no guarantee that $vere the Progres¬ 
sive Party to succeed in its controversy with the Prussian 
Government, that it would use its victory in the interest of the 
whole people, many fearing that it would be quite as likely to 
use it to uphold the privileges of the bourgeoisie, and not to 
secure the universal, equal and direct right of suffrage for the 
working classes. In such a case, it is clear that it could not 
be of the least interest to the workingmen. At that time, 
that is what I should have had to say. To-day I can add that 
since then it has been clearly shown—which at that time it 
was' not difficult to foresee--that the Prussian* Progressive 
Party lacked the energy necessary to bring even so slight a con¬ 
flict with.the Government to a satisfactory and dignified end. 

That party, notwithstanding the contemptuous refusal of the 
Government to surrender to it the right of voting the budget, 
still consents to assemble for parliamentary purposes, transact¬ 
ing business with a ministry declared criminally responsible, 
thus lowering itself and the entire people ; exhibiting a spec¬ 
tacle of weakness and an absense of dignity without a parallel 
in the history of legislative bodies.. 

Even in spite of the violation of the Constitution, a viola¬ 
tion so declared even by themselves, it still continued to as- • 
semble, helping the Government to uphold a fraud, a mere 
appearance of a constitutional state. 

Instead of, as it ought to have done, declaring the Cham¬ 
ber closed until the Government declared itself unable to 
continue the expenditures refused by the Chamber, thus plac¬ 
ing the Government in the inexorable alternative of either 
respectfully recognizing the constitutional right of the Cham¬ 
ber, or, boldly throwing off all appearance of such recognit¬ 
ion, defying embarrassments, assume absolute rule, inviting 
the crisis imposed by absolutism. Notice the result of this 
cowed action on their part. The Government is so placed as 
to have all the advantage of absolute power with the added 
advantages of an <■ pparently constitutional state. 

The Government, instead of being forced to unveil abso¬ 
lutism, giving the people to understand that there was no con¬ 
stitutional warranty wanted for expenditures, has the appear¬ 
ance given to it of constitutional consent to its operations, 
thus duping the public, confusing the intelligence, and de¬ 
praving the moral sense of the people. 

A party capable of such pusiianimity, exhibiting such 
weakness, is powerless, inadequate to the work of the hour, 
and incapable of leading in the development of liberty, 
therefore unfitted to represent the democracy of the nation. 

It is unworthy to lead the great element constituting the 
workingmen’s movement. 

I would have to tell you then as I have to tell you now, 
that a party which, through its dogma of the “ Prussian 
Front,” forces itself to recognize in the Prussian Government 
the called-for Mesiah for the birth of the Gennnn nationality, 
while there is, even inclusive of Ilessia, not a single German 
Government politically behind Prussia; yes, while there is not 
a single German Government, even including Austria, which is, 
in reality, not ahead of the Prussian Government—to seek to 

— 8 — 

claim the leadership of the workingmen’s party is a degrada¬ 
tion, an illusion suggesting drunken impotence. Its surren¬ 
der of manhood in the face of the contempt of the Govern¬ 
ment. puts aside all hopes of its leading in the direction of 
the liberty of the German people. 

What has been said gives definitively the position to be 
assumed by the working classes in the matter of politics with 
reference to its relation to the Progressive Party. 

The working-class must constitute itself an independent 
political party , based on universal equal suffrage: a sentiment 
to be inscribed on its banners , and forming the central principle 
of its action . The representation of the working class 
must'be a fact in the legislative bodies of the nation. Noth¬ 
ing less will satisfy the awakened demands of the working 

We must open, for this end, a peaceful, lawful agitation. 
Let this be the programme of the party of labor, without ref¬ 
erence to the Progressive Party. The workers must regard 
their organization as that of an independent party, utterly and 
completely separate and distinct from all political affiliation 
with the Progressivists; recognizing it only when their com¬ 
mon interests bring them into copartnership at the polls. 

This must be the policy of the Workingmen’s Party. 
Whatever of leaning toward the Progressive Party will be 
made apparent, must be by the Progressivists coming up to 
their standard; giving them a chance either to develope, or to 
sink deeper in the mire of impotence—where it is already 
knee-deep. Such must be the tactics pursued by the Work¬ 
ingmen’s Party toward the Progressive Party, So much for 

Now to the social question you have broached, and which 
interests you in a much greater degree. 

I confess that it was with a grim smile I noticed that de¬ 
bates on free trade and free movement should form important 
features in the order of the projected Congress. Why you 
should seek to discuss free movement can best be answered by 
quoting Schiller’s famous distich : 

“ Tor years I’ve been using my nose to smell; 

Who questions my right to my nose, pray tell? ” 

Free trade and free movement are matters which, in a 
law-making body, are quietly decreed without debating. 

The German workin g men surely have no desire to repeat 

— 9 — 

the foolish spectacle of assemblages whose chief enjoyment 
seems to be to applaud aimless, long speeches. Surely the 
earnest resolution of the worker will spare us the exhibition 
of all such pitiable weaknesses. 

You want to found Savings-banks, Invalid and Sick-help 
Societies; institutions whose relative but subordinate impor¬ 
tance I readily recognize. Let us, however, try to distinguish 
between two questions which have nothing to do with each 

Is it merely your aim to ameliorate the condition of the 
worker? guarding him against the results of recklessness, 
sickness, age and accidents; the unguarded effects of which 
press individuals below the ordinary condition of* their 'class. 
If so,, the establishment of such institutions will be fully 
equal to meet your aims. A movement of such magnitude as 
the universal agitation of the workingmen of the nation, how¬ 
ever, would be far from finding its reward in accomplishing so 
little when so much could be done. It would ; but suggest the 
old saying: “The mountain labored, and brought forth a 
mouse. ” 

So limited and subordinate an aim might be quietly left 
to local associations, they being quite equal to the attainment 
of such desiderati. 

The aim of this movement has a wider scope than estab¬ 
lishing beneficiary institutions for the afflicted individual. It 
is rather to raise the status of the class in the nation, re¬ 
deeming it from the degradation of its present level. 

Is not that the ultimate sought in this great movement ? 
If so, then is the sharp line of distinction called for which I 
have drawn between the merely beneficiary idea and the 
larger scope of national interferences with the present order 
of society. The two features must not be confused. The in¬ 
stitution of the first is powerless to the attainment of the 
second ; making it imperative that the former shall be regard¬ 
ed as altogether outside of and apart from effort to aecom- 
iish the latter. 

Allow me here to give' you the testimony of a fellow 
workman, Prof. Huber, a man whose strictly conservative and 
royalistic tendencies would be likely to preclude from his 
writings any confessions in favor of the working-class proper; 
but whose candor and impartial judgment make him incapable 
of giving an unwarrantable complexion to truth. I delight 

— 10 — 

to give the evidence of this man—and in the course of this 
letter will do it again and again—and for the reason that, 
standing as he does on a different elevation from mine, what¬ 
ever of suspicion might attach of my regarding what he would 
say as of smaller importance, through prejudice on my part, 
might be avoided. His views, politically as well as economi¬ 
cally, are different from mine; but he possesses in an eminent 
degree the frankness to truthfully discuss, on national and 
economic grounds, the questions forced by the Liberal School; 
pointing to what, in his judgment, might mislead and disap¬ 
point the workingman. 

In his “Concordia,” Professor Huber says: “Without, 
then, overlooking the relative benefit, as far as it really goes, 
of Savings, Help and Sick societies, I insist that these good 
things can bring with them great negative hindrances, stand¬ 
ing, as they may, in the way of something better.” 

And surely these negative hindrances alluded to never 
could take place to a greater degree as obstacles in the way of 
something better than with the forces of the workingmen’s 
movement concentrated upon, or even shared with these 
proj e'cts. 

But you should—say the newspapers—and this your 
own letter to me mentions as strongly recommended by many— 
take into consideration the organizations ofSchultze Delitzsch — 
his Land and Credit Associations, his Raw Material and Con¬ 
suming Associations—in order to better the condition of the 
w orking class. 

Let us examine this a little more closely : 

Schultze Delitzsch can be regarded in three relations : 

In his politics he belongs to the Pro. Party already al¬ 
luded to. 

Secondly, he has claims-as a national economist; standing 
as such upon the ground occupied by the Liberal School; 
sharing alike their errors, their mistakes and their blindness. 
The lectures he has given before the workingmen afford too 
convincing proofs of that charge : making his efforts a bundle 
of distorted presentations with conclusions having no connec 
tion whatever with the premises. However, it is Neither your 
desire nor yet my aim to give a criticism of the theory of the 
National Economists or of the lectures of Delitzsch in particular, 
to prove how wide of the mark and self-blinding are the ar¬ 
guments used by that school x>f philosophers. My duty to 

you however, forces me to dwell more at large on their doc¬ 

The third relation alluded to, in which Delitzsch stands, is 
his peculiar individuality, which has the effect of forcing him 
beyond his theory as an economist of the National School: 
of him it can be said that, of his party, he is the only one 
who has really benefitted the people. Although standing 
alone, and at a time of unusual business depression, by his un¬ 
tiring activity, he became the father and founder of the Ger 
man Co-operative Societies; giving them a push forward which 
will give a wide and spreading effect to that beneficent move¬ 
ment ; and for which, although his opponent in theory, I now, 
while writing, in spirit shake hands with him. Truth and 
Justice, even to an‘'opponent, ought to be the first lesson as 
well as the first duty of all men. 

That, at this day, in the German movement the question 
is already discussed, whether the associations are to be taken 
up in his sense or mine, which is to a great part his true 
merit—a merit, we must admit we cannot too highly estimate. 
In the face of the warmth with which I recognize this 
merit, however, I shall insist on regarding with critical sharp 
ness the question: Are the Schultze Delitzsch associa- 
tions-the Credit, Loan, Raw Material and Consuming associa 
tions able, effectively, to better the condition of the working 
class? To which I reply, and with emphasis, No J And 
here I briefly state my reasons for my decided negative. 

In regard to the Loan and Raw Material Associations, 
they assist him only who has a small business for himself. For 
the journey, men or workers in the factory,men having no busi¬ 
ness strictly of their ®wn, those institutions are as if they did 
not really exist. This feature you must never lose sight of, 
that from the beginning, the aim of the being of these socie¬ 
ties was to be serviceable only to small industries ; not for the 
elevation of the whole. They will help employers with a 
capital, but are not j.intended to reach the Workingmen : 
In this connection you must impress yourselves with two 
pressing points : 

First.*It is in the nature of the industrial movement to 
tive the factory, with its immense productive power, an extra¬ 
ordinary advantage over the small industries; so much so as 
to dwarf all efforts of the smaller producer. Wholesale and 
mass-production daily more and more taking the place of pro- 

duction on a small scale. England and France, nations ahead 
of us in economical development, show this in a much greater 
degree than with us. Germany, however, is making mighty 
progress on the same road. Your daily experience will 
be sufficient to corroborate this. 

There follows, then, from these Delitzsch Loan and Raw 
Material Associations, allowing they did help the small trades¬ 
men, that owing to the necessarily expanding tendencies of 
our industries, they all constantly developing into rich firms 
and corporate institutions, their influence would all the while 
be lessening, the large firms and corporations gradually absorb¬ 
ing the lesser tradesmen, the recipients of their benefits, they 
gradually becoming sunk in the ranks of the purely working- 
class : an absorption the inevitable result of our peculiar mod¬ 
ern culture. 

The other point alluded to is still more important : 

Notwithstanding the fact that a few tradesmen so as¬ 
sisted, are enabled to carry on a small business in living com¬ 
petition with the larger concerns, the confession of Prof. Hu¬ 
ber is adverse to the Credit and Raw Material Associations as 
a successful means to ends. He says, “ Unfortunately, de¬ 
spite our favorable perceptions that competition between 
dwarf-production and corporative industry was possible, we 
have to say that it is not satisfactorily so. 

But the inherent defects of the system, and which, at 
the first, became developed in my mind, will, I am convinced, 
be still more conclusive. 

How far, as an assistant, to the small tradesman, can the 
Loan Association go ? Only so far as enabling him to have 
good and cheap raw material—no further ; placing him on an 
equality with his competing neighbor who had already capital 
of his own with which to purchase. At best it is but 
lengthening the lease which, in time, must expire; yielding 
to the larger capitalist, whose mass-production, with its small¬ 
er profits and other advantages, stock and rule the markets. 
The principle sways civilization : the inferior corporation 
yielding to the larger. 

It may be urged that the small tradesman who carries on 
his trade helped by the Raw Material Association has advant¬ 
ages over the capitalist who uses his own money, and is therefore 
better able to endure the strain of his heavy competition. We 
must bear in mind, however, that the wholesale price feature 

— 13 - 

is but one of a series of advantages of cheapness which in¬ 
heres in industries conducted on a large scale. 

But even between the master who carries on business 
with the help of the Raw Material Association and the one 
who conducts his work on his own capital, the advantages are 
very nearly balanced. 

The latter has no interest to calculate upon, and can at 
all times place him elfin connection with the best markets in 
the purchase of needed articles, giving him business chances 
the Raw Material Association cannot develope; particularly 
the knowledge which enables him to select minor articles. 

The association spoken of can only lengthen out the un¬ 
avoidable death struggle of the business life of the small 
tradesman; he is doomed to make way for- the large concerns ; 
the products of our increasing and changing culture. To seek 
to perpetuate the struggles of the smaller traders is but uselessly 
to obstruct the inevitable, wliile leaving the great body of the 
working class, employed in the larger works, entirely unreach¬ 
ed by assistance. 

We shall now look at the Consumers Associations. 

The whole body of the working class would be embraced 
by the consumer’s association. But even these associtions are 
powerless in any degree to better the condition of the worker. 

Three reasons will be ample to prove this. 

The disadvantages which lie upon the working class, (as 
the two following sub-divisions of the economical law will 
show,) strikes him as a producer and not as a consumer. 
It is surely a false step to assist the working class as consum¬ 
ers, when it is apparent that we ought to help them as pro¬ 
ducers; lor it is as producers the shoe pinches.- As 
consumers, we stand to day, in general, quite equal. As be¬ 
fore the gms'cVarmes all citizens stand alike, so, in presence 
of the shop keeper, the customer has no superior claims; all 
paying equally as well. 

It is true that from this small paying ability on the part of 
the poor, certain special minor evils follow to the injury of the 
working class; the disadvantages forcing him to become a prey 
to the usury of shop-keepers. Against this economic feature 
the Consumers Association is a great protection. But without 
mentioning how long this Association can last, and where it. 
must stop, I contend that this assistance only makes the sad 
condition of the working class for the moment more endurable' 


and I say that, it must not be confused with the methods, to 
better the condition of the working class, and which is the 
aim of the workingmen’s movement to accomplish. 

The merciless economical rule,under which the present sys 
tern fixes the rate of wages,in obedience to the so-called law of 
supply and demand for labor is this : that the average wages 
always remain reduced to that rate which in a people is bare¬ 
ly necessary for existence and propagation; a matter governed 
by the customary manner of living of each people. That is 
the inexorable point about which the real wages always gravi¬ 
tate; never keeping long above or below it. Were it to remain 
for any length of time above it, there would be ail increase- 
of marriages from which would flow a greatly increased num¬ 
ber of the working element,which would invariably bring down 
the wages below its former rate. 

The a wages also cannot fall with anything like permanence 
below the ordinary rate of living; as from it would flow emi¬ 
gration, celibacy, restraint in the number of births; circum¬ 
stances in the end lessening the number of laborers; an equi¬ 
librium is thus secured, keeping wages generally uniform; the 
wages being at all times in obedience to the vibrations. There 
is no gain saying the assurance that the wages of a 
people are regulated by their ordinary habits of living, 
those habits conforming to the limits of existence and pro¬ 
pagation. This is the cruel, rigorous law that governs wages 
under the present system. 

The truthfulness of this standard no man can question; I 
could call in support of iny assertions names famous in national 
economical science even from the liberal school; for, truth to 
tell, it was the liberal economic school which discovered and 
proved the law. 

Gentlemen, this cruel inflexible law you must at all times; 
have before you, impressing your souls with its terrible truth, 
and in all your thinking you must start with it as a perpetual 

And here I can give you and the whole body of the work¬ 
ing people an infallible test by which all mistakes and errors 
can be avoided in your dcalimgs with would-be leaders. 

' To every one who speaks of ameliorating the condition 
of the worker, you must put the question : whether or not he 
recogniz cs this law ? 

If he does not, at once say to yourself, he either desires 

to mislead, or he has a pitiful degree of inexperience in national 

economical science. It is a fact that there is not, even in the 
liberal school, one noteworthy national economist who denies 
this : Adams, Smith,Say, Ricardo,Matthews,Bastiat,and John 
Stuart Mill; all of them unanimously acknowledged it; so, too, 
do all men of science. 

And then, when he who speaks to you about the condition 
of the workingman, and returns in answer to your question that 
he does recognize this law, ask farther; How would he 
abolish this condition ? - 

And if he gives you no answer upon this, quietly turn • 
your back to him. He is, he assured, an empty talker who 
wishes to mislead you; or is himself a victim to hollow phrases. 
Let us for a moment look nearer at the effect and nature of 
the law. It is in other words substantially this : From the 
amount produced there is only so much taken and divided 
among the workingmen, as is necessary to their existence 
(wages), the entire surplus of the amount produced falling to 
the share of him who undertakes the enterprise. 

It is therefore a consequence ol the cruel, heartless law that 
you — who for that reason I have in my labor pamphlet called 
the class of the disinherited—are barred out from the increas¬ 
ed productiveness brought about by the progress of civilization. 
For you comes a bare existence; the undertaker of 
the enterprise takes all that is produced. 

Owing to the great increase of the productiveness of la¬ 
bor in modern times,many of the products falling to the mini¬ 
mum of cheapness,it becomes possible for you to have a cer¬ 
tain degree of advantage from the excess of productiveness of 
labor—not as producers, but as consumers. It, however, does 
not change the quota or share of the amount produced; affect¬ 
ing you only in your condition as consumers, which it likewise 
does to the condition of the undertaker as a consumer, as well 
as to all who do not take part in the production;—benefit- 
ting them indeed, to a much greater degree than it does the 

But this advantage which does not occur to you as labor¬ 
ers, but as human beings, vanishes again in course of time 
through this cruel and relentless law which lowers the wages 
to the measure of consumption necessary to a bare existence. 

Now, it can happen to you that through increased produc¬ 
tiveness of labor and the consequent appearance of the mini- 

mum of cheapness in many products, together with a length¬ 
ened period for increased demand for labor, disproportion ally 
cheap products are taken up and regarded as customary ne¬ 
cessities for a bare existence of the people. 

Thus it is then that laborers and wages at all times dance 
upon the otuer circle of the conditions constituting a bare 
existence—sometimes a little above, sometimes a little below, 
but seldom if ever changing. 

This outer circle may change at different periods through 
the conjunction of the above given circumstances; and it is 
by comparing different periods with each other that the con¬ 
dition of the working classes in the later century and genera¬ 
tion seems to be superior to that of former centuries aud gen 
erations; and the whole history on the minimum amount neces¬ 
sary for an existence has arisen 

Gentlemen, I was forced to make this small detour, dis¬ 
tant though it may appear from my real object, because this 
trifling little benefit in course of centuries and generations is 
always the point upon which all who desire to throw dust 
into your eyes, after the manner of Bastiat, do .so; which 
amounts to nothing but the hollowest declamation. 

Remember my words. The time may arrive when the 
minimum amount necessary to sustain the laboring classes will, 
as compared with the amount of former generations, appear 

Whether it is really so that, in the flow of the centu¬ 
ries, the general condition of the working class has continu¬ 
ously been bettering, involves a very grave and entangling 
discussion, embracing much patient research: an amount of 
investigation, indeed, altogether too great for ordinary persons 
to take the trouble to master: necessitating endless inquiries 
about the prices of 'calico in one year as compared with others, 
and how much you now consume, with such-like common-place 
detail—items which can be found in any commercial compen¬ 

I shall not go into this investigation, but will confine 
myself to what is absolutely firm and also easily proven. 

We will grant that the minimum amount thought 
necessary for an existence increases in the course of genera¬ 
tions, and along with it comes a betterment of the condition 
of the working classes. 

But you will be made to find, by a little eft’ort on my 

part, that, with these common-places, they play the real ques¬ 
tion out of your hands, making it an entirely different one. 

They mislead, they blind you. 

Gentlemen, when you speak of the condition of the work¬ 
ing class and how it is to be bettered, you mean the condition 
of your fellow-beings of the present time compared with the 
standard of life’s necessities enjoyed by other classes at the 
same time. 

They answer you by assuming comparisons of your con¬ 
ditions with that of workingmen in former centuries. But 
the real question is, Do you stand better to-day because the 
minimum of necessities has risen over that of the workingmen 
of eighty—two hundred-or three hundred years ago? If so, 
how can it effect you any more than when told the settled 
fact that your condition to-day is superior to that of. the Bo- 
tokudes and man-eating savages ? 

All human enjoyment and contentment depend upon the 
proportion of the means of satisfaction of the customary ne¬ 
cessities of the wants of life of the period. Or, which is the 
same, the surplus of the means of satisfaction and content¬ 
ment over the lowest line of life’s wants, customary and nec 
essary at the time. An increased minimum of life’s wants 
will bring with it sorrows and hardships which a former period 
knew nothing about. 

It is no hardship to the Botokude that he can buy no¬ 
soap ; neither is it a hardship to the nauseating savage that he 
does not sport a respectable coat. What possible uneasiness 
was it to the workingman, before the discovery of America, 
that there was no tobacco to be had? or, before the era of 
printing, that no desirable book could be got? 

All human hardships and sorrows depend, then, only 
upon the proportion of the means of contentment to the, at 
the time, present wants and customs of life. We measure 
our sorrows and hardships, our contentment and blessings, by 
the conditions of other classes at the period. It is because,at 
different periods of progress, added wants have sprung into 
existence, bringing desires formerly unknown into demand, 
that sorrows and hardships appeared. 

Human conditions have ever been the same: dancing 
about upon the lowest circle of \v r hat, in every period, is cus¬ 
tomary and necessary to a bare existence—sometimes a little 
above, sometimes a little below it, 

The standard has, at all times, remained substantially the 
same. The condition of man cannot be measured by the nat¬ 
ural relations of the animals of the primal forest, nor yet the 
negro in Africa, nor the serf during the Middle Ages, nor 
even the workingman of two hundred or eighty years ago ; 
but only through the relation of the condition of his 
fellow-workers to the condition of the other classes of the 
same time. 

Instead of stating views about this, and discussing how 
this relation may be bettered, and how that cruel law may be 
changed, which holds you constantly upon the outer circle of 
the wants in every period, they amuse themselves by dis¬ 
torting the question beneath your very nose, entertaining you 
with problematical views of history, of culture, and the con¬ 
dition of the working class informer times: views all the more 
problematical: those products of industry falling to a mini¬ 
mum of cheapness, belonging, in a very marked degree, to the 
articles consumed by the workingman ; while the food which 
chiefly forms this consumption, not at all governed by the 
same tendency to an ever increasing cheapness. Such views 
would only have value when the conditions of the entire 
working class, during the different periods, would be investi¬ 
gated in all directions, and from every point; investigations 
of the gravest nature, and to be carried to a degree of com¬ 
pleteness for which those who present them have not the req¬ 
uisite qualities, such duties to be performed only by the really 

Let us now return from our necessary detour, to the 
question, What influence can the Consume Associations have 
upon the condition of the working class, after the law of 
Political Economy, formulated in Sub-Division 2 ? 

The answer will be simple enough. 

As long as only single circles of workingmen combine for 
a Consume Association, so long the general wages will not be 
affected by it; and just so long will these Consume Associa¬ 
tions, through cheaper consumption, exert a subordinate in¬ 
fluence, lightening the down-trodden conditions of the 
worker—a tendency I have already viewed and admitted. 

It will be most important here to bear in mind that, so 
soon as the Consume Associations more and more embrace the 
whole working class, it will be seen,as ^necessary consequence, 
that wages, owing to the cheapness of the necessaries of life, 

the result of the Consume Associations, will fall in precise 

These Consume Associations never can help the whole 
working class; while to the single circles of workingmen who 
form them, they can only give slight help, so long as their ex¬ 
ample does not find imitators. While these Consume Asso¬ 
ciations spread themselves, embracing larger masses, in that 
degree dwindles the trilling benefit which, under the most ad¬ 
vantageous relations can accrue from them, until, embracing 
the large majority, it sinks to zero. 

Can it he earnestly proposed that the workingmen should 
fix their eyes upon a means by which, as a class, they cannot 
be benefitted-? w r hich, in fact, can only assist a few, while the 
larger class stand by: and which, as soon as the majority seek 
to benefit by, at once is of no help to any one? 

The German working classes, allowing themselves to be¬ 
gin with a tread-mill round, will find that any betterment of 

their condition will be in the verv distant future, 


i have now analyzed all the Sehultze Delitzseh organiza¬ 
tion, showing you that they are not now, nor ever can be, of 
permanent service to you. 

The question now is, Cannot the principle of free, indi¬ 
vidual association he applied so as to better the condition of 
the working class ? 

To that 1 reply, Without doubt it can. Gut only through 
applying it in the massed and concentrated forms of the fac¬ 
tory, with its enormous advantage of productivity. 

The working classmust become itself a monster employ¬ 
er: the whole a series of gigantic enterprises. By this means 
and by this alone, can amelioration come, and the iron and 
cruel law governing wages be abolished. 

Th e wages class, once become its own employer, the di¬ 
visions between wages and profits of enterprise at once is re¬ 
moved : the wage disappears, and in its stead comes the cer¬ 
tain and satisfying reward of labor honestly performed. The 
whole production of labor becomes the claim of the worker, 
unaffected by any employer. 

This method of the abolition of the profits of enterprise 
is peaceful, legal, and, withal, simple. Through free asso¬ 
ciations, the working classes organize themselves as their own 
employers, and, by the sftnple act, emancipate themselves from 
the system which gave the working class wages, at all times 

— go- 

hut a small part of the entire product: not more than is bare¬ 
ly sufficient to support life, while the surplus falls to the share 
of the employing class, making them rich. Be assured that 
this is the only true method of release for the working class, 
all others being specious and illusory. 

But how is the change to be effected ? Throwing a glance 
upon the railroads, the dry docks, the cotton spinrieries, the 
calico factories and such like formidable institutions ; then, 
dwelling for a moment on the enormous amount of capital 
needed, you will see in your empty pockets nothing but mock¬ 
ery of the suggested design. Where, you exclaim, are the 
millions to come from to inaugurate this projected system of 
the future? You stand appalled at the threshhold of your 
enterprise. To you nothing can be more apparent than your 
helplessness. If left to yourselves, you are indeed without 

For this very reason, it is the duty and becomes the bus¬ 
iness of the State to come to your rescue, t-o enable you to ex¬ 
pedite and give form and vitality to the scheme so promising 
of betterment to the working class of the nation. The State 
ought to regard it as its holiest duty to assist in making cer¬ 
tain the possibility of your self'organization and association ; 
for in your elevation lies the secret of the grandeur and com¬ 
pleteness of the State. 

And here do not allow yourselves to be misled by the 
cries of those who say that all interventions of the State 
must necessarily weaken social self-help. It does not follow 
that I hinder a man from reaching a certain elevation in 
climbing a steeple because I reach him a ladder or a rope to 
assist him. Shall it be said that the State seeks to suppress 
self-effort in study because it establishes schools, hires teachers 
and opens libraries to. facilitate instruction ? Can I be ac¬ 
cused of putting impediments in the way of a man who seeks 
to cultivate a farm by Tending him a modern plow? And 
surely it cannot, be said that I am anxious to defeat an enemy 
when I put weapons into the hands of others for the destruc¬ 
tion of that enemy. 

I admit that single individuals have educated themselves 
without teachers, schools or libraries; it is true that people 
have been known to climb steeples without the aid of ladders 
or ropes. It is true that the peasantry of Vendee, in the 
Revolutionary war, defeated their enemies without weapons. 

— 21 — 

AH these exceptions, however, do not weaken the rule ; they 
but strengthen it. Neither does it affect the rule that under 
certain circumstances, single circles of workingmen in Eng¬ 
land, through organizations founded solely by their own ex¬ 
ertions, have bettered their conditions in a small degree. In 
the face of these exceptions there remains to be accomplished 
the real improvement of the condition of labor embracing the 
entire class, and which can only be done through help ad¬ 
vanced by the State. 

Do not allow yourselves to be affected and misled by the 
affected contempt of those who decry Socialism and Com- 
munionism; such cheap talk cannot permanently affect your 
demands, and is used only by such as desire to mislead you or 
who do not know what they are talking about. 

* Nothing can be farther apart from Communism than is 
this demand of the workingmen to the State. It will not af¬ 
fect the individual freedom of the citizen in any manner 
whatever ; each retaining in all essential particulars, his pres¬ 
ent relations to the community. Ilis personal manner of life 
undergoes no change, save in the difference of his remunera¬ 
tion, the result of his changed conditions by his new relations 
to the State.:—advancing him capital ; or, in other words, 
necessary credit. 

Really and truly this is the mission of the State: to ex¬ 
pedite and assure the advance of culture. For this the State 
exists, and for this only. It has already given abundant evi¬ 
dence that this is its characteristic work—its canals, its high¬ 
ways, its post-offices, its boat lines, its telegraphs, its national 
banks. Without the intervention of the State such insti¬ 
tutions could not exist; or, if existing, they would be pro¬ 
ductive of ceaseless wrangles by competition. 

I give you an example that outweighs hundreds that 
might be presented ; an example, too, dating from our own 
times : When railroads began to be built, it was found nec¬ 
essary in Germany, as well as in many other countries, for the 
State to intervene in one way or another, guaranteeing the 
payment of interest on stock ; and in some countries much 
greater responsibilities were assumed. 

It would be well here to mention that the English, who 
are always pointed to as a people opposed to State interfer¬ 
ences, boast with commendable pride of the intervention of 
the State in abolishing slavery; an act of parliament author* 

izing the expenditure of twenty million pounds sterling, 
($100,000,000,) for that purpose. To free an unlimited ma¬ 
jority of its own nation from the cruel law that governs wages 
in their country ought surely be expected to interest them 
still more than freeing a strange race in a strange land. 

In this connection I would also point to the example of 
the United States, presenting with such unexampled liberal- 
ity by subsidies of land to forward railroad enterprise. 

The guarantee of the interest alluded to above, so forci¬ 
bly reminding one of the phrase, “ the lion’s share,” amounted 
to neither more nor less than this: Should the new enter¬ 
prise prove unprofitable, the State must bear the loss ; that 
is, you, the taxpayers, shall pay the deficit. If, on the other 
hand, the thing should be a success, the dividends, no matter 
how heavy, shall accrue to the rich stockholders. In some 
countries, particularly Prussia, this feature is sought to have 
a modified appearance given to it by reserving certain as¬ 
sumed advantages to be derived in the very far future ; ad¬ 
vantages which can only become such through the working¬ 
men associating for ameliorative purposes, aud being felt as a 
factor in the politics of the nation. 

Without the intervention on the part of the State—of 
which it may be said the guarantee of payment of the inter¬ 
est was the smallest feature—it is extremely likely we should 
have had no railoads on this continent to-day. In any case, 
this fact is not to be disputed, that the Government, in guar¬ 
anteeing the interest, was a reliable inducement to the rich 
property holders who control capital, 1m take hold. It was 
clearly a case of State assistance to the Bourgoise ; and if ex¬ 
tended to one class why not to another equally willing to hon¬ 
orably profiit by it. 

How was it that no cry arose against tlie interest guar¬ 
antee as an improper intervention of the State? Why was it 
not declared that the guarantee of the State was not de 
nounced as undue interference of self-help on the part of the 
rich stock companies? Above all, why was not the guarantee 
of the State stamped as Socialism and Communism ? The 
question is readily answered: The intervention was in the 
interest of the rich, the property holding class of soci¬ 
ety, deference to whom has always been regarded as correct. 
It can onlv be when the intervention is sought to be in favor 
of the poverty-stricken that Communism is raised as a mad 

dog cry\ 

Let what I have said, then, answer for those who speak 
to you of the impropriety ol State intervention, condemning 
it as threatening the, principle of self-help and favoring So¬ 
cialism and Communism, which they say underli s the de¬ 
mand. Give them to understand that, having lived so long in 
Socialism—as proved by guaranteeing the interest on the 
railroad and other instances hastily touched upon', we desire 
to benefit by its advantages in a si ill greater degree. 

It may be added that great though the progress of cul¬ 
ture was made made,the introduction of railroads, 
it would sink into insignificance compared to the advance civ¬ 
ilization would show in the same space of time by the eleva¬ 
tion of the working class through their industrial association 
by State aid. 

For, what do all the heaped-up riches and all the fruits 
of civilization benefit the community when they are used by 
only a few? leaving unlimited humanity the Tantulus of the 
ages, reaching in vain for what forever eludes the grasp : 
worse, indeed than Tantulus, for he had not assisted in culti¬ 
vating the fruits for which his thirsting tongue was damned 
to long for. The elevation of the working class ought to be 
regarded as the grandest achievements of Culture, therefore 
warranting the highest efforts of the State in the accomplish¬ 

It is to be added that the State, through the agency, of 
the ordinary credit and money circulating institutes,(the banks) 
may, in the easiest possible manner, perform the needed duties 
of assistants to the Government in its new relation to us, and 
without taking upon themselves any greater responsibility 
than was assumed in accepting guarantees for the payment of 
the interest ot railroads. 

How easily the necessary capital, or, credit, rather, might 
be procured for the gradual association of the entire working- 
class, cannot be further shown here, as it would involve ex¬ 
planations of the theoretical, financial and social functions of 
money and credit. Furthermore, such an explanation of the 
method as would be necessary, would fee superfious,because not 
called for. Not till it can have a practical value by initiating 
the realization of the demands will this become a duty. 

From the nature of things, these associations can only 
gradually, and in process of time, embrace the entire work' 

■— 24 

ingclass. They would have to begin in such districts and 
localities where certain occupations center, where the density 
of the population and the known disposition for association 
would be likely to forward such. 

As soon as a number of such associations would be 
formed, securing the aid of the State, their existence would 
make it easier to introduce them to other branches of indus^ 
try, which, when combined, would form a chain of credit with 
relation to one another. Beside this credit association, an 
insurance association might embrace the different co-opertive 
associations,equalising all business losses and making them but 
scarcely felt. The State would be in no ease forced to play 
dictator to these societies; its duties ceasing after supplying 
the stability needed through statutary enactments ; all control 
being vested in the organizations themselves; thereby con¬ 
ducting the business exclusively by the members; so insuring 

The ordinary journeyman’s wages would be paid weekly, 
while the whole business profits of the association would be 
distributed in the form of dividends. The practicability and 
the lucrative productivity of such associations can be ques¬ 
tioned only by those who are totally ignorant of the fact that 
workingmen’s associations already numerously exist in Eng¬ 
land and France ; sprung into being it is true under advers- 
circumstances and solely by the isolated exertions of the 
working men, yet having attained a high degree of prosperity. 
Already, in the county of Lancashire—passing by the so- 
called pioneers of Rochdale—there existed thirty-three such 
associations organized on the plan of the Factory method of 
production ; and although but lately founded they have de¬ 
clared a dividend of thirty to forty per cent, on the capital 
invested. There are besides,associations of ouvricrcs macons in 
Paris, who presented a business exhibit in 1856 to 1857, 
showing a profit of 56 per cent, on their capital; in 1858 the 
business profit was 180,000 francs; of which 30,000 francs 
were added to the reserve and the surplus 100,000 francs di¬ 
vided as a dividend; furthermore, sixty per cent, of this fell 
to the share of labor, and forty per cent, to the share of the 
capitalist, (this association has associes non travailleures who 
each invest at least 10,000 francs.) A like prosperity is ex¬ 
hibited by the ouvriers lampistes, also by the ouvriers en meubles 
and others. See history of workingmen’s associations in the 

25 — 

Work ft of Prof. Huber, Cochut, Lemercier {Etudes sur lei 
association ouvrieres .')The statutes and rules of these co-opera¬ 
tive shops Iso contribute valuable information concerning the 
internal economy of these associations. Regarded from the 
standpoint of the philosopher, these societies kre the promises 
of the future ; the work of hard-palmed, clear souled men 
who through the dim vista of the coming generations saw 
humanity’s possibilities. If so much, then, can be accom¬ 
plished, m?t only unaided, but in the face of immense opposi¬ 
tion and ridicule, it becomes an easy task by the aid of the 
State, to achieve the entire redemption and permanent eleva¬ 
tion of the workingclass. And to that complexion it must 
come at last. Blind indeed must that man be who fails to 
see in the history and development of the years the unswerv- <• 
ing swing of humanity toward the conditions aimed at by 
these associations. 

Gentlemen ; as a finale, let us now consider the question : 
What is the State ? 

In response, I ask you to cast a glance at the official 
statistics published by the Government—for I do not purpose 
to appear with my own calculations merely. 

The official statistical bureau of the kingdom of Prussia, 
superintended by the King’s secret councillor, Prof. Die- 
terici, published in 1857, founded upon the official tax list, 
shows how the population was divided in regard to income, 
(Prof. Dieterici’s Statistical Bureau, year 1851, VOL. IV, 
P. 2G2; compare VOL. Ill, P. 243. 

I place the results of this calculation before you with 
the exact words and figures. 

As there exhibited,one-half per cenGof the population of 
Prussia has an income of 1,000 thalers. 

Three and one-fourth per cent, from 400 to 1,000. 

Seven and one-fourth per cent, from 200 to 400. 

Sixteen and three-fourths per cent, from 100 to 200. 

Seventy-two and one-fourth per cent, below 100. 

And this income falls upon the heads of the taxable por- * 
tion of the population who, according to Dieterici, represent 
upon the average a family of five persons or at least three 
persons. * 

'■’'Note. —There existed in Prussia at that time (1850,) as Die¬ 
terici shows—VOL. IV, P. 223; 10,331,187 souls, and 3,181,908 
families, giving 5 and one-tenth persons for an average family. Tax- 

— 2a 

And naturally the same 'analogy must exist- in all the 
other German States. 

These dumb official figures, if they do not claim mathe¬ 
matical exactness, every one, as you know, belittling his in¬ 
come before the tax-gatherer—a matter of no importance in 
this relation, it not in the least degree giving grounds for 
difference—will speak to you more distinctly than would 
whole volumes. 

Seventy-two and one-fourth per cent, of the population 
with an income below 100 thalers;showing them, as a conse¬ 
quence, to be in the most miserable condition. 

Another sixteen and three-fourths per cent, of the pop¬ 
ulation, with an income of from 100 to 200 thalers a few 
degrees above misery. Another, seven and one-fourth per 
cent with an income of 200 to 400 thalers still in cramped 
conditions. Three and one-half per cent, with an income of 
400 to 1000 thalers, in a comparatively comfortable position ; 
and finally one-half per cent, in all possible degrees of* wealth. 
The two lowest classes who are in the wretched, downtrodden 
condition form 89 per cent, of the whole population, and if 
we must add the seven and one-fourth per cent, of the third 
class,still in a cramped condition,comparatively without means, 
we find 96 and .one-fourth per eent. of the entire numberhelp- 
less and poverty stricken. 

Now, gentlemen, remember this : It is to you, you the 
suffering, the patient and enduring class, that the State be¬ 
longs ; not to us of the higher classes ; for tlbe State is the 
consolidated people. I asked you what was the State, and 
you have found through a few figures, a more comprehensive 
answer than many books could give ; I repeat it, you, the 
people, make the State. 

I now emphatically ask, why should not your large associa¬ 
tions develope and guide to fruition the smaller circles of as¬ 
sociations ? 

This question you also will discuss with those who twad¬ 
dle to you about the impropriety of State interference, and 
of the socialism and the communism inherent in the demand. 

Finally, if you desire an especial clause to prove the fin¬ 
able persons at that time, (see Dieterici, YOL. Ill, P. 243,) 4,950,- 
454, as you see, more than there- were families. Still, according to 
this, the taxable head represents an average family of three persons, 
not allowing that the lowest classes have the largest families. 


possibility of bettering the condition of the entire working 
class, except through the co-operation of the State, aiding the 
free associations, look at England, the country upon which 
tho other side chiefly rely for proof of their assertion that it 
is possible to bring about this improvement by limited num¬ 
bers of individuals in eo-operative efforts, independent of out¬ 
side aid. 

It seems to be regarded that England, for many reasons 
rooted in its peculiar conditions, is the best fitted to success¬ 
fully try this experiment —the fact, however not proving 
* the possibility of other countries to do the same. 

The especial proof referred to with reference to England, 
points distinctly to the workingmen r s associations which, up 
to this time, have been given as so conclusive. I mean the 
pioneer movement of Rochdale. Existing since 1844, thi3 
consume association founded a spinnery and weaving mill, 
with a capital of £5,500 ? ' in 1858. In the statutes of this 
co-operative association, an equal share of the business profits 
or dividend, besides the local market price for labor (wages,) 
was assured to all the workingmen busied in the factory, 
whether stockholders in the association or not; it having been 
decided that the yearly dividends should be equally divided, 
and apportioned to labor-price or wages, as upon the capital 

Here let me say that the number of stockholders in the 
factory amounted to 1,600, while the number of workingmen 
busied in it were only 500. There was, therefore, quite a 
number'of stockholders who were not at the same time work¬ 
ing in the factory ; at the same time all the workmen were 
not stockholders. In 1861, an agitation arose from those who 
were merely stockholders, backed by some who were both 
stockholders and workmen, against the rule that the working¬ 
men who were not stockholders should receive a share of the 
business profit—the product of labor. 

From the side of the stockholder, the argument advanced 
openly and simply, was, that according to the universal custom 
in the industrial world, labor was fully paid with the wages 
alone ; and that this wage was fixed by the law of supply and 
demand. (We have seen above by what law.) “ This fact,” 
says Prof. Huber, in the report which he gives of the cir¬ 
cumstance, “ from the beginning was presented as the neces¬ 
sary, natural state of things, needing no further motive nor 

Strengthened claim of legitimacy. True, up to this time, the 
custom in the factory was strictly according to the statutes, 
but was regarded as exceptional, impulsive. Bravely, but 
without clear reasons, arguments founded mainly on the feel¬ 
ings, the sensibilities, this motion was battled for by the old 
founders and Trustees of the association. True to the in¬ 
stincts of the possessor, a majority of five-eights of the 
workmen stockholders voted to change the statutes—acting 
precisely as would the Bourgeoisie in a similar enterprise. 
The defeat was only for the present, however, as a majority 
of three-fourths of the votes was necessary. 

“ But nobody,” further reports Prof. Huber, “ flatters 
himself that the thing has been settled. On the contrary, 
violent, internal struggles are in the future of such associa¬ 
tions j doubtless, occasion will lead to discussion of the motion 
next year; the opposition being resolved to make its influence 
felt in the election for ofncers, where a majority vote decides, 
and where the domineering tendencies of the Trustees are 
likely to capture the opposition. ” 

Prof. Huber further reports of this: “ A majority of the 
manufacturing productive associations have, from the begin¬ 
ning, conformed to tbo universal custom, and undoubtedly 
without regard to the doctrine involved; a very few, indeed, 
have adopted the co-operative principle in favor of labor. ” 
And Prof. Huber must confess, however against his will, and 
with a heavy heart—for he is a disciple of the idea that as¬ 
sociation should come only through the individual efforts of 
workmen : that it is a question which will, doubtless, soon 
come to be discussed and decided in all other associations for 
product]on,where the opposition of capital and labor exists, and 
where is felt the competition eternally reproduced in the in¬ 
dustrial microcosm, (the organized world,) and as represented 
by the workingmen’s associations on a small scale. 

You see, gentlemen, that when you reflect upon these 
facts, you find great questions are, at all times, solved in a 
great manner; never hj inferior agencies. So long as the 
general wages are governed by the above law, so long the 
small associations of workingmen will be unable to resist its in¬ 
fluence. Where is the gain to the workingman in working 
for either fellow-workmen or Bourgeoisie? There is none. 
In what can he possibly benefit by changing his employer? 
Nothing. l r ou have merely changed the claimants to the re- 

suits of your labor. You are in no wise freed. Where is the 
gain to be seen? There is no gain—unless gain is to be seen 
in the added depravity which changes the workingman in the 
associated form into the worst form of master. The person 
engaged in the enterprise alone has changed, the system has 
undergone no alteration; labor, the source of all wealth, be¬ 
ing confined to the old status of wages : barely sufficient to 
keep a man alive. It is easy, under certain conditions, for 
the understanding to become confused ; as witness the greed 
under the influence of this law, making workingmen, on be¬ 
coming stockholders, not employed in the factory, unwilling 
to recognize the fact that they are enjoying the advantages of 
the labor of others : opposed, even, to allowing them a share 
apart from the gain of their own labor, even to grudging them 
that upon which labor has a just claim. 

Workingmen with means of labor and having a greed of 
enterprise ! this is the disgusting caricature into which the 
stockholding laborer has been changed. 

Finally, for a last, decided proof in this discussion : 

You saw that in this factory of the pioneers, 500 work¬ 
ingmen were busied, and that 1,600 stockholders had an in¬ 
terest in it. This much will also be apparent to you, that un¬ 
less we can succeed in mocking ourselves with the delusion of 
all laborers being rich, that the number of workingmen em¬ 
ployed in a factory never will succeed, out of their own profits, 
to furnish the principal stock or capital necessary for a fac¬ 
tory. They will find it impossible to resist the conclusion, 
that the admission of a greater number of stockholders, not 
employed in the factory, would be imperatively called for. 

The proportion in this relation in the factory of the 
pioneers—1,600 stock holding workmen out of the factory, 
against 500 workingmen engaged in the factory—as three to 
one, is most favorable, and indeed rarely so : quite as small as 
could possibly be found to be; and is explained partly by the 
exceptionally comfortable condition of the organization, and 
partly through the fact that their peculiar branch of industry 
does not belong to those demanding a large amount of capital 
and also, because the factory does not belong to a mammoth, 
productive institution, in which case it would be very differ¬ 
ent. Finally, there is to be added, that, through the devel- 
( pement of industry itself, and the progress of civilization, 
this proportion must continue to increase every day. It must 


be evident to every one, that the progress of industry consists 
in the application of more force and more machinery put in 
the place of human labor, and that through this is the amount 
of capital stock made to increase over human labor. When, 
then, in this factory of the pioneers, 1,600 workingmen- 
stockholders were needed to contribute the necessary amount 
of capital to employ 500 workers, making a proportion of one 
to three, then by the workingmen in other branches, and in 
the larger institutions of production, together with the daily 
progress of civilization, the proportion would vary—as 1 to 4, 
1 to 5, to 6, to 8, to 10, to 20, and so on. But let us remain 
at the proportion of 1 to 3. To found a factory in which 500 
workmen find employment, there are needed 1,600 stockhold¬ 
ers to furnish the necessary capital. 

This is well enough, so long as I wish to found only a 
few factories. Gentlemen, in the imaginative process there 
is no trouble. I can tripple and quadruple the number and 
still go on while I have working men stockholders to help me. 
But when I extend these associations till the whole body of 
workingmen of the nation are embraced, where shall I find 
three, four, five, ten, twenty times the number of working¬ 
men stockholders who are to stand behind the laborers em¬ 
ployed in the factories arid furnish the capital? 

It will be easy to perceive that it becomes a mathemati¬ 
cal impossibility to free the working class through the efforts 
of its members ; and that all argumentt used to prove the 
contrary are mere illusions—phantasms of the brain. It will 
be equally apparent that the only road to successful abolish¬ 
ment of the law which governs wages, and which regulates as 
with a rod of iron, is the progress and development of free 
individual labor associations through the helping hand of the 

The labor movement, founded upon the purely atomic 
isolated strength of working individuals has had its value, 
and an immense one it is, to unmistakably show the way how 
the emancipation may take place: practical proofs removing 
all doubts, real or assumed, of the practicability of the Idea ; 
so compelling the State to see its duty in upholding by its as¬ 
sistance, the higher interests of the nation through the culture 
of its members. 

At the same time I have proven to you that the State is 

really the great organization and association of the working- 

men, the central point of help and protection, holding the 
smaller associations in hand by a series of functionaryism ; 
This is the natural and legitimate purpose of the State : oper¬ 
ating by supervision over each subordinate association as each 
subordinate association does toward its members. 

But how enable the State to make this intervention ? 

The answer is clear : It is possible only through univer¬ 
sal and direct suffrage. 

When the law making body of Germany owes its ex¬ 
istence to the popular vote, then, and i.pnly then will you be 
able to control the Government in the interest of labor. 

When this element of popular power shall have been in¬ 
troduced aud the law making power be the result, then the 
neeessa'ry forms and measures of the intervention may be dis¬ 
cussed ; and, backed by reason and science, men who under¬ 
stand your condition, and who are devoted to your cause will 
defend your interests, Then, too, the class without means 
will have to ascribe all disastrous elections to themselves, 
finding their representatives in the minority. 

Universal and direct suffrage, as has been show'n, is the 
foundation of your political and social life: the ba^.ic princi¬ 
ple of' all self help . and without which the condition of the 
workingman cannot be bettered. 

Now, how to succeed in securing universal direct suf¬ 
frage : 

Cast a glance at England l For more than five years did 
the English people agitate against the corn laws ; and so earn¬ 
est and general was the agitation that they wore abolished 
even by a Tory ministry. In like manner you workingmen of 
Germany must organize as a universal workingmen’s associa¬ 
tion, peaceful^ but untiringly demanding continual agitation 
for the introduction of the universal and direct right of suf¬ 
frage throughout all German countries—And mark my words: 
at the moment this combined movement reaches 100,000 
members, it will be an acknowledged power in the land and al¬ 
ready a factor affecting the legislative bodies. liaise this cry 
in every workshop, in every village, in every hut. Let the 
city workman, with their deeper insight and higher culture, 
pour into the ear of their brethern of the rural districts, by 
debates and speeches their knowledge and experience, till me¬ 
chanic and agricultural laborer, joining in the chorus of de¬ 
mands, compel the Government to grant the right insisted on.. 

By debate and discussion, daily, and without cessation, 
was the great English agitation a success; by the same means 
'alone will universal suffrage be gained in Germany. The more 
the echo of your voices is heard, the less will be the opposi 
tion to the pressure. And as auxiliary to your movement, 
found treasuries to which every member of the association 
must contribute to defray expenses of plans of organization. 

Along with these treasuries—which, despite the small¬ 
ness of the contribution, will form a power for agitation pur¬ 
poses, enabling you to have the daily papers to repeat the same 
demands, proving the rightfulnesss of your claims to deliver¬ 
ance from our present social condition. 

Spread with the same means pamphlets. Also pay agents 
jto carry the same views iuto every corner of the nation that 
the cry may reach the heart of every workingman, every 
householder, every agricultural laborer. Pay out of these 
moans to all such workingmen who may suffer persecution and 
injury because of their activity in the cause. Let your voices 
continually be heard; in season and out of season ; perpetual, 
never tiring; in place and out of place: a continual pres¬ 
ence, compelling men to listen. The more repeated 
the more it will spread, and become mighty in the 

All the art of practical success is contained in the secret 
to concentrate force at one spot, the vital and important point. 
In your propaganda look neither to the left side nor to the 
right. Be deaf to all but universal and direct suffrage or 
that which is connected with it and that leads to it. 

When you have really established in the national mind 
this demand, and which in a few years you may succeed in do¬ 
ing through the 89 to 96 per cent, ot the population which 
constitutes the proportion of the poorer classes in society, 
then will your wishes no longer be sought to be withheld. 
The Government may quarrel and struggle over polttieal 
rights with the Bourgeoisie. They may even refuse you polit¬ 
ical rights ; deny you even under the ordinary pressure felt 
in political legislation, the right of suffrage. But a question 
brought before Parliament backed by 89 to 96 per cent, of 
the people clamoring for its passage as a bill : a question 
affecting the national life: a question of stomach and brains, 
and hot with the vitalities of both, no power can long with¬ 
stand* Gentlemen, no authority can resist this. 

— 33- 

Uni versa 1 and direct suffrage! 

This is the sign and symbol by which you conquer. 
There is no other for you. 

With Greeting and Hand Grip, 


Berlin, March 1, 1863. 

' .